Martin D. Reggi
Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (4th Subcircuit (Riley Vacancy district)
Responses to our questions
Please submit an essay that explains your legal background, why you are qualified for this position and why you seek this position.
My name is Martin D. Reggi and I am a candidate for the Fourth Judicial Subcircuit vacancy.
I am a general practitioner in Berwyn, Illinois with a 37-year legal career within a variety of legal areas. The focus of my legal career has been to work with the communities of the suburbs and Chicago. Specifically, I have continually supported the rehabilitation of youth offenders in an effort to keep our streets safe.
I will continue this task as a judge. I attended Loyola University in Chicago and Lewis College of Law (which is now Northern Illinois University). After graduating, I served as an Assistant State's Attorney. In these formative years, I honed my writing and litigation skills by drafting more than 25 appeals and working at the Bridgeview and Maywood courthouses. These courts are part of the Fourth Judicial Subcircuit, which familiarized me with the reoccurring issues that arise within these neighborhoods.
As a prosecutor out of law school, I saw the realities of the Cook County judicial system. I also fed off the fast-paced environment. Ultimately, I thrived knowing I helped keep Cook County safe. The work was rewarding and I thought I may spend my entire career there. The decision to leave the State's Attorney and "put a shingle out" was the hardest choice of my professional life. But with a newborn baby and another on the way, I created my own practice as a general practitioner. This leap into the unknown helped me grow as an attorney, a father, and, with the voters' help, into a judge. Criminal law showed the other side of the legal system.
I defended those who I previously prosecuted. I felt uneasy at first, sitting across from former co-workers, now arguing against them. I often was unsure that I made the right decision. The first years were bumpy. But after 32 years, I have built a successful practice and consider myself a beneficiary of the American Dream.
My practice has focused on many legal areas, with the main ones being criminal law, real estate, and bankruptcy. I have sharpened my skills in these areas and established excellent working relationships with the counsel, judges, and staff throughout Cook and the collar counties. I am proud to say I have conducted thousands of trials and hundreds of real estate closings. During the real estate crisis, I was forced to broaden my practice. I pushed myself to expand my legal expertise and had the opportunity to explore civil litigation, including personal injury and divorce, and administrative law, including Secretary of State proceedings. Although this was a challenging moment, I found opportunities to grow personally and as an attorney by expanding my practice and expertise.
Running my own business has presented challenges along the way, but the flexibility it afforded me as a father of seven has far outweighed any negatives. I have helped ensure clients are afforded justice. I helped them buy their first homes, and maintain resiliency in times of hardship. Most important to me, I have defended young men and women with substance abuse issues. Sometimes these individuals were children who had been exposed to trauma that lead to mental health and addiction issues. As a father to seven children, my clients reminded me of my kids and I fought hard to set them on a better path and prevent further destructive choices.
I recently ran into a former client who had once battled addiction issues and was truly touched when he told me I helped set him on a better path. He was married with children and had obtained a Master's degree. My experience as a father shaped my legal and communication style, as I try to strike a balance between caring and authority. I seek the best outcome in a case and the best possible outcome in an individual's future.
Further, my experience as a general practitioner has allowed me to defend a wide and diverse spectrum of clients. I believe that this contact with people of many different backgrounds has helped me grow as a lawyer and will ultimately help me serve as a judge. By not limiting myself to one particular area of law, I have been able to interact with people from many environments. I have seen how they are treated in the eyes of the law.
I plan to use this awareness to ensure that each judgment passed is fair and equal. My service to the community extends beyond my clients. I currently participate in many activities, including the West Suburban Bar Association and Southwest Suburban Bar Association. If I am selected by the voters to serve as a judge, I hope to work with these associations to provide mentoring services to at-risk youth and encourage law as a profession.
In particular, I would seek private funding to develop a program that would interface with schools and youth detention centers in an effort to remove any stigma associated with the courts. Many of these children already feel that the "system" is against them, but I hope to break down this stereotype and prove that the courts, and people within them, strive to fight for them to have better lives.
My legal career, my love for my family, and my desire to help youth have encouraged me to seek candidacy as a judge in the area I call home — the southwestern suburbs of the Fourth Judicial Subcircuit. I have worked hard to prepare myself as a candidate by getting to know the citizens in the towns that make up the Subcircuit. Over six years, I have shared cups of coffee, walked in parades, and listened to the stories of my neighbors. In addition, every Cook County bar association has honored me with positive ratings. I humbly seek the voters' support and it would be my honor to represent you in the judiciary.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
My motivation is my family. My wife Allyson and I are parents to seven kids and were featured on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show about big families. Oprah's crew filmed a typical day at our family's home and we were guests at Harpo Studios in Chicago. Oprah was surprised at how many groceries the kids, who are now all grown up, went through in a day. Today, my family makes up my campaign staff and they are the biggest source of support for my candidacy. I've seen my daughters get married. I've seen a grandchild born. This campaign is a reflection of our growth as a tight-knit family. My family is my greatest motivator and it was one of the best moments of our lives to be recognized.